LONDON — The U.S. has renewed its efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Poland.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles have submitted a request to Poland’s prosecutor general for the director’s extradition. This request has been forwarded to the authorities in Krakow, where Polanski has been living while he prepares to shoot his film “An Officer and a Spy.”
“Prosecutors will want to summon Polanski for questioning,” Mateusz Martyniuk, a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s office in Warsaw, said.
This move follows an attempt by the U.S. authorities to get Polanski sent back to the States in October, when Polish prosecutors rejected a request to arrest Polanski when he attended the opening of a Jewish museum in Warsaw.
One of Polanski’s Polish lawyers, Jerzy Stachowicz, told Reuters on Wednesday: “In our view no new circumstances have arisen which could lead to a change in the decision by the prosecutor’s office in October.”
Polanski holds both Polish and French passports, and under the terms of the extradition treaty between the U.S. and Poland, Poland is not obliged to extradite its own citizens, but it could do if it wished to. Given Poland’s need to lean on U.S. support to counter-balance the expansionist threat in the region from Russia, it may feel obliged to play ball.
In 2010, Poland’s prosecutor general ruled that Polanski could not be extradited as too much time had passed since the offenses, but Martyniuk said in October that extradition was in fact possible because “the statute of limitations does not apply to U.S. requests.”
However, Polanski is popular and well-respected in Poland, so there would be public resistance to any move to extradite him.
In 2009, Polanski was taken into police custody in Switzerland after the U.S. submitted an arrest warrant, but an attempt to have him extradited later failed.
Polanski pleaded guilty to having sex with 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in the U.S. in 1977, but he left the country in 1978 before sentencing.